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October 10, 2013

Suggest a name for this rescued owl

SAEGERTOWN — The public has an opportunity to help name the newest education raptor at Tamarack Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center: a handsome red phase Eastern Screech Owl.

This beautiful bird joins a grey phase Eastern Screech Owl, “Willow,” and six other non-releasable raptor educational ambassadors. This new bird was found injured along a road in Albion this spring. His damaged eye had to be surgically removed. Not releasable due to reduced vision and hearing, he is otherwise healthy and a good companion to Willow, Tamarack officials say.

Tamarack invites individuals, groups and classes to make suggestions for this owl’s name. Submit names by going to Tamarack Wildlife Center’s Facebook page and posting the name suggestion and the reason you like that name on the wall. Suggestions can be submitted electronically any time from now until midnight Oct. 18. Suggestions can also be mailed to the center at 21601 Stull Road, Saegertown, Pa. 16433; or made in person at the center’s Open House on Oct. 20 from 1 to 3 p.m. The bird’s name will be chosen from among the suggestions submitted.

Current suggestions include: Ginger snap, Pipsqueak, Icarus (in Greek mythology, this was the person who made wings out of feathers and wax, then flew too close to the sun and fell to the earth), Roofus or Rufus, Flame, Winky, One-eyed Willie, Aniken, Rusty, Screech, Screecher or Screechie, and Ezylrib (from the Legend of the Guardian: Guardians of Ga’Hoole, Ezylrib is a red screech owl with one eye).

The public may be familiar with Willow, considering they helped name her not too long ago.

In 2010, Willow and her family of three owlets were rescued from a city park in Erie when the tree limb containing their nest cavity was cut down. The owlets survived with no permanent damage, and in a collaborative project with the Presque Isle Audubon Society, were released on Presque Isle once grown. Willow, however, suffered a wing injury that prevented her return to the wild and later joined Tamarack’s team of educational ambassadors.

The public was invited to suggest names and the response included more than 100 submissions by school classes ranging from first grade to high school, scout troops, Audubon Society members and others. After difficult deliberation, the list was narrowed down to five finalists for the public to choose from. It was later that the name Willow received 440 votes, followed by Athena with 376, Luna with 363, Sylvia with 87 and Lilith with 56.

The name Willow was submitted by the sixth grade students of Maplewood Elementary School. Makenna Barickman made the initial suggestion, which was embraced by the class. They thought the owl’s camouflaged feathers are similar to the colors of willow tree bark, and her ear tufts resemble fallen leaves.

Eastern Screech Owls can be one of three colors: grey, red or an intermediate brown. In this area, roughly one third of these birds are red. Like all Pennsylvania raptors, these birds are protected by state and federal law and the appropriate permits for keeping them have been acquired. Screech owls commonly live in city parks and back yards, just needing a tree cavity or nest box in which they can raise a family.

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